As Avatar: The Way of Water continues to break records at the global box office, James Cameron also hopes to return to the world of another one of his cult movies: Alita: Battle Angel. While appearing on Kim Master’s The Business podcast [via KCRW], the filmmaker revealed that he would like to create a sequel to the 2019 animated action movie, possibly as a television series on a streaming platform.
Despite his own criticisms about the format, Cameron wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to make a follow-up to Alita: Battle Angel, which he co-wrote and produced, for a streamer. “I’d love to be on it,” he said on the podcast. “I think streaming is an opportunity to do long form.”
The Oscar-winning scribe-producer added that he likes working with other filmmakers, “like I did with Robert Rodriguez [who served as the director] on Alita: Battle Angel,” he continued. “It didn’t quite make enough money to make everybody grinning from ear to ear, but we may revisit that IP, we hope to anyway.”
Cameron developed Alita: Battle Angel for years before he eventually passed the project onto Rodriguez. The latter took over the helming duties of the Saturn Award-nominated movie because the Avatar series began to consume Cameron’s life.
So Rodriguez shot Alita: Battle Angel from 2016 through February 2017. The film then had its world premieres in London in January 2019.
The dystopian future-set movie, which follows an amnesiac cyborg who rediscovers her past life as a battle droid, was well-received critically and performed well at the box-office. However, it wasn’t the profit-generating hit its studio, 20th Century Fox, had hoped for at the time, due to its sizable budget.
Cameron does have ideas about how he can expand on the world of Alita: Battle Angel if he’s given the opportunity. “I’ve always written more than we can conceivably pack into the box of a conventional movie, and I don’t like all that interesting character development and interesting scenes getting chopped out, either at the scripting stage or in the post-stage.”
That has certainly been the case in the Golden Globe-winning filmmaker’s career since he wrote and helmed the 1986 sci-fi action sequel, Aliens. The director’s cut is considered by many fans to be the superior version of the movie. Cameron also re-edited extended additions for several of his other movies, including T2: Judgment Day and The Abyss.
Despite his willingness to create an Alita: Battle Angel sequel television series for a streamer, Cameron also discussed the downside of streaming. He noted how that streaming, which was quickly inflated by the pandemic keeping everyone housebound for an extended period, has burst in recent months.
“I feel like everyone got caught up [streaming] it when the pandemic hurt – it just didn’t hurt; it killed [cinemagoing]. We’re resurrecting it out of the grave now, [but] it killed [theaters] dead for almost a year,” the Emmy Award-winning filmmaker stated.
“Everybody had a great story for Wall Street about how they were going to create all this content, and from what I’ve seen from afar because I wasn’t directly in the game, it seemed like everyone was throwing stupid money at it to generate content and to try and create a new or constantly refreshing flow,” Cameron continued.
“But it seems to me now the average viewer has to have eight or ten different subscriptions to see everything. So, it seems unsustainable on its face like a big Ponzi scheme, to me. I think there’s going to be some consolidation,” the Saturn Award-winning filmmaker added.